Fans in Focus: Burnley v Stoke City

Burnley entertain Stoke City tomorrow night; a game which could have a big bearing on deciding whether Burnley remain in the top flight or not.

At home, as we all know, the Clarets can beat almost anybody, and they will be hoping to channel some of that famous Turf Moor spirit on Tuesday to sink the Potters.

Stoke, however, represent a huge obstacle for Burnley to overcome and former Blackburn boss, Mark Hughes, will be keen to get one over on the Clarets.

This week, I caught up with fans from both sides as they preview Tuesday’s game…

Burnley fan – Matt Lane (@FFMattLane)

After Saturday’s disappointment, what, if anything should be changed on Tuesday?
I felt for the first half and the beginning of the second we matched up well to Spurs, but taking off Gray changed the game. With Hull winning it feels like we are being dragged back in so we need to go for 3 points. I feel we should revert back to 4-5-1 in order to get our best players on the pitch. I’d play Barton as a deep playmaker and have Hendrick and Defour ahead of him. We need to get Brady out in an attacking wing role on the left and I’d be fine with Boyd on the right. Gray needs to be lone striker.
Two players who have been touted for starts are Robbie Brady and Steven Defour, would you start them?
Absolutely. I can see why Defour is being eased back into it, and i can also understand we can’t just let Brady walk in and start every game as it sends the wrong message – however that only goes so far. We need to get both starting and in their correct positions, particularly Brady who is ineffectual on the right.
It’s now seven games without a win in the League, how important is it that this poor run is ended against Stoke?
It doesn’t feel like seven games when you consider who we’ve played, but it is becoming an issue. I don’t think we have the mentality that would bring down morale based on this run of form but forget morale, we need the points! A win would put more teams and points between us and Hull, and judging from our remaining fixtures we should have enough about us to seal survival.
What do you expect we will see from Stoke on Tuesday? Will they come for a point or all three?
Stoke have had a mixed season really, a shocking start was quickly improved and they seem to have a knack of beating those below them. That being said they don’t really have anything to play for so I’m hoping if we can start with desire and initiative we can take them off guard. I think they will come for the win and hopefully it should be a more open game than Burnley v Stoke would be billed as in the media
How do you see the game panning out and what is your prediction?
It all depends on our approach. We need to set the pace of the game and play quickly. An early goal would be a great help. I think it will be a tight one, but we’ll just about squeeze 3 pts out of it, 2-1 Burnley.
Stoke fan page – @wizardsofdrivel
After Saturday’s disappointing defeat against Leicester, how important is it that Stoke bounce back on Tuesday?
To be honest, it’s less important that we get a result than it is that we produce a good performance. If we can create chances, and look more solid at the back we won’t mind a defeat as much. Our season is essentially over, and I don’t think two many of us are expecting a win, so we’ll just have to see how it goes.
Stoke look set for another season in the Premier League with safety all but assured, is there any chance the players may take their foot off the gas a little?
I’d say their feet were already off the gas, but that would imply our foot was on the gas at some point these season. It’s been a very underwhelming season from our perspective – whilst we’re comfortably mid-table again we’re not really showing signs of kicking on from there.
Mark Hughes has recruited some fine attacking talent, but who is the one player the Burnley back-line should look out for as being the ‘danger man’?
Our wingers are our shining lights at the moment and if we can get the ball to them, Arnautovic and Sobhi are capable of unlocking defences. Arnie can blow hot and cold but he’s our best player by some distance – my worry is we’re asking him to do too much.
What should Burnley fans expect of Stoke?
We’re vulnerable at the back and we’re not creating enough chances. In recent games we’ve gone to a 4-4-2 and looked blunt, a kind of poor mans’ Pulisball. Like I said, if we can get our wingers firing we’re a different proposition but I wouldn’t expect us to be a major threat.
How do you see the game panning out and what is your prediction?
If you score first, you’ll win. I’m hoping that we can keep you quiet but unfortunately don’t expect much beyond that. 0-0.

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